March 06, 2013
Catering to Kids
Your servers may hate it when a table comes in with four kids in tow — but big families mean big money, both for the restaurant and the server. A waiter who knows how to work the kids is a waiter who goes home with a bigger tip from mom and dad. Tips include:
• Don’t be condescending. Remain calm in your interactions with children and treat them with honesty, respect and interest.
• Speak directly to the child, not to the parents. Ask them their name, then use it when you reference them.
• Bend down to their level and look them in the eye so as to be less threatening.
For more tips on catering to kids, click here.
Make Closing Safer for Employees
Unfortunately, late night proves to be an optimal time to attempt a robbery and restaurants and their closing employees are falling victim to this crime. Many operators feel helpless when late-night robberies occur. Though, such acts may be out of proprietor’s hands, there are some steps that you can take to make closing safer for your employees. Here are some examples:
Never have an employee close alone
Use bright exterior lights
Purchase an alarm
Utilize convex mirrors
Arrange equipment and furniture to prevent entrapment
Speaking of safety, the kitchen is where most restaurant injuries occur. For a look at kitchen safety, click here.
Carryout Service Smarts
Takeout areas within a pizzeria have one purpose: to get the customer his food and get him out the door as efficiently as possible. And while the kitchen plays a role in that, guest service is the main thing customers will remember. “For many of our to-go guests, the only person they speak with at our restaurant is the person at the takeout counter,” says Teresa Corea-Golka, owner of Roma D’Italia.
Here are some tips on making your carryout counter a well-oiled machine:
• Build Relationships — When the dining area isn’t busy, encourage waitstaff or hosts to greet and talk to carryout customers. “To me, there’s nothing better than watching one of our hostesses chat with a customer waiting for a takeout order,” Corea-Golka says. “We want to get to know our customers so the next generation continues to dine with us as well.”
• Share the Waiting Game — Though Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza in Charlotte, North Carolina, doesn’t keep a specific person on the carryout counter, operator Eric Horsley says every employee in the restaurant understands they all share the responsibility for making sure every guest is happy.
“We want to make sure our guests are greeted within a 30-second window, and every member of our staff knows it’s their responsibility to go up and greet a customer if they’re not in the middle of helping someone else.”
For a look at dedicated carryout areas and whether they work for most pizzerias, click here.
While conducting research for an article he’s writing for an upcoming issue of Pizza Today, freelance writer Daniel Smith ran into Tony DiSilvestro, owner of YNot pizzeria. DiSilvestro says he paid $14,000 for a new refrigerated display case to house homemade gelato — a purchase that paid for itself within 18 months. Still, the pizza shop owner acknowledges such a hefty initial cost limits many from buying new display cases.
While an abundance of manufacturers produce new, high-quality display cases worth a look, DiSilvestro says a vibrant used market exists both online and in restaurant supply stores. “I wouldn’t hesitate looking for a used case, especially if you’re giving this idea a trial run,” DiSilvestro told Smith for his article in Pizza Today.
Likewise, Adam Goldberg pursues nontraditional purchasing.
Seeking custom cases for his Los Angeles-based pizza company, Fresh Brothers, Goldberg employs a local tradesman who makes glass doors for showers. With Goldberg serving as the designer and handing measurements directly to the glasscutter, he bypasses a traditional manufacturer’s design fees and receives his custom case at about one-quarter the cost.
For more info on display cases, click here.